Working with children on the autistic spectrum within the classroom can be challenging as well as quite stressful.
Students with autistic spectrum are typically more likely to need support within the classroom environment as well throughout the school day. The individual on the spectrum will display the triad of autistic deficits set out below:
- Social deficits.
- Communication deficits.
- Imagination and interaction deficits.
Autism is one of the pervasive developmental disorders. The spectrum ranges from low functioning autism where the student will need special needs education, may be non-verbal and have specific learning disabilities.
To high functioning autism or aspergers syndrome; where the child may need support within the classroom but is capable of inclusion in mainstream education.
Students with high functioning autism or aspergers syndrome as it is sometimes called will have an average to above average IQ.
Children on the autistic spectrum typically have difficulties with making and maintaining friendships and find starting or taking part in conversations or discussions difficult.
The education of students with autistic spectrum is made harder due to student communication, imagination and interpretation impairments. They will have trouble understanding imaginative and interactive lessons.
The student on the spectrum will think and talk literally, and have little understanding of facial expressions or body language. They will not understand sarcasm, pun’s or jokes. Children on the autistic spectrum are often referred to as “locked in their own world”.
Therefore educating children on the autistic spectrum needs careful thought and planning. Keep structure and timetables as rigid as possible. The student on the spectrum will respond well to routines and could become very confused, stressed and anxious when routines are changed or broken, try to avoid this where possible and if you find you need to alter a routine, try and give the student on the spectrum plenty of warnings.
You can use autism social stories for this. Recent research suggests children on the autistic spectrum like using autism social stories, and respond well when autism social stories have been implemented.
Children with autism will often interrupt lessons inappropriately and be unable to interpret any cues that such interruptions are unwelcome.
Using autism social stories can HELP to stop this behavior by teaching the student on the autistic spectrum class rules and appropriate classroom behavior. As well as being used to keep the student on track during lessons.
Autism social stories can also be implemented for lunchtimes, break times, toilet break, timeouts, home time, assembly in fact all situations surrounding the school day; making educating children with autism less stressful.
For download of autism social stories to help in the classroom and at school in general visit: